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Online Casino Bonuses
13 April 2009, by Milton
Shaw, Casinospage Staff Writer
Bonuses for new players are
certainly not a new phenomenon in the online casino
industry. Ever since casinos first started taking
bets in 1997, they have been handing out free money to
try to entice new players, but as competition for new
players has become more and more intense, bonuses have
started escalating to astronomical levels.
Casino bonuses are basically
additional funds deposited by the casino in player's
accounts. It is real money that players can
withdraw, but it comes with conditions attached that
differ from casino to casino. But generally, there
will 'times wager' term attached to a bonus. This
basically means that players will need to turn that
money over a certain amount of time before they are able
to withdraw it. This protects casinos from paying
out a bonus and the player taking the money and running
without actually playing.
Casino bonus policies are
many and varied and loyal players will be given plenty
of bonuses during their active playing life at a given
casino, but the most common bonus is the sign up bonus.
Offered to players signing up for the first time at a
given casino, this is the big carrot that casinos dangle
to try to win new players.
In the late 1990's when the
internet casino industry was still in its relative
infancy, but starting to become very competitive,
bonuses were in the order of $20 to $50. The very
aggressive operators were offering up to $100. And
these were often less than 100% match bonuses.
That is, deposit $200 of your own cash and the casino
would kick in an extra $100.
As the casino industry has
matured, competition has continued to grow and the
market has been squeezed by new legislative developments
like America's UIGEA, meaning casinos are now competing
harder than ever for new player patronage.
Sign up bonuses in the last
2 years have rocketed to levels that may not have been
considered at all possible back in 2000. Gone are
the $20 offers. These days anything less than $500
is well off the pace, and in percentage terms,
200% match bonuses are not uncommon.
The biggest bonus offers
currently in the industry are at the $5000 mark,
comprising multiple sign up bonuses in varying
structures (ie x amount on 1st deposit, x amount on 2nd
deposit etc). At present, the largest bonuses on
Its hard to know where this
exponential escalation in bonuses will stop. But
its hard to imagine that casinos can continue to keeping
upping the amounts of money they are handing out to
players without it starting to have a serious impact on
their bottom lines.
Never a dull moment in the
world of online gambling!